Thursday, May 12, 2011

Big Fish in Small Ponds

When I was at high school in Albany, I grew accustomed to being one of the better English and Drama students.

Boy, did I get a rude awakening when I went to uni.  Suddenly I was surrounded by people who were equally as or more talented than I was.  I struggled with the anonymity of going from a high school of 1,100 and a town of 30,000 to a city of 1.5 million.  It was only by the grace of God that I didn’t throw in the towel.  I stuck at it and I think I improved in my craft.

My brother has two failed attempts to relocate to the big smoke long-term behind him.  His first attempt in 2005 lasted five months.  His second from 2008-2010 was more successful, but ultimately he couldn’t hack being a nobody in the crowds.  He was used to being asked to participate in things and being known to everyone.  In Perth, nobody thought he was any more special than anyone else.  He didn’t like being a small fish in a big pond.

In the last few years, I’ve been wondering why people from Albany, or Dalwallinu, or any town really, consistently complain that where they live is a ‘hole’, ‘boring’ or that they just can’t wait to move away....but they never do.    Surely it makes sense that if you hate where you live that much, the logical answer is to move away.

But I think they never do because they secretly like being ‘somebodies’ in that small town.  They like having friends around them, having everyone know their name, being asked to be involved in different things.  They might live in a hole, but at least it’s familiar and comfortable.

I don’t think there’s necessarily anything wrong with preferring the country over the city, or even living your whole life in one place.  But, personally, I think it would do some people a heck of a lot of good to move away to somewhere where they are not that special and nobody knows them.  Then it might make them realise how difficult it is to be the new kid on the block, and that they need to welcome the stranger.


Anonymous said...

Is humility one of your attributes?

Sarah said...

I don't answer trick questions from people who are too cowardly to put their name.

Mark Edwards said...

I totally agree with this post Sarah.
It is certainly true of churches where I have observed some people wanting to stay in a small, dysfunctional, perhaps even destructive church, simply because they want to be a big fish in a small pond.

Ronnica said...

It was hard for me to move from high school--where everyone knew that I was smart and good at many things--to a school where no one knew or cared how smart I was. It was good for me, though, to be humbled and recognize that I'm not all that, after all.